Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day Special

Seriously, I walk into the polls today and am handed the usual list of proposed amendments to our state constitution.  Right there, Amendment No 1, is a proposal to make it the right of every citizen of our state to hunt and fish:

Amendment 1
Must Article I of the Constitution of this State, relating to the declaration of rights under the state's constitution, be amended by adding Section 25 so as to provide that hunting and fishing are valuable parts of the state's heritage, important for conservation, and a protected means of managing nonthreatened wildlife; to provide that the citizens of South Carolina shall have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife traditionally pursued, subject to laws and regulations promoting sound wildlife conservation and management as prescribed by the General Assembly; and to specify that this section must not be construed to abrogate any private property rights, existing state laws or regulations, or the state's sovereignty over its natural resources?
A ‘Yes' vote will make it a constitutional right for citizens to hunt and fish and will permit the State to legally provide for proper wildlife management and the protection of private property rights.

Talk about an eye-opener.  I don't know why I thought for all of these years that I already had that right.  Goes to show that nothing you enjoy should be taken for granted.  From what I've read, this was more a measure to ensure that neither Congress nor PETA would be able to take away this right down the road.  An ounce of prevention I suppose.  Arizona, Arkansas and Tennessee have similar measures on the ballot today, and this isn't a new idea.  Vermont passed right to hunt legislation in 1777. 

I'm not sure whether this is a good thing in that my right to hunt and fish will be enjoyed by my descendants or a bad thing in that it implies that this right might not exist some day.  But that possibility does exist, however remote it may seem.  Change is one constant in this world.  My great-grandfather never would have thought that gay marriage would go mainstream or that I would make phone calls from anywhere using a device the size of my wallet.

(I voted Yes).

UPDATE: The amendment passed by a nearly 9 to 1 margin with 1.23 million people (roughly 27% of the state's population) voting.


  1. In Kansas, we have a similar amendment that reaffirms the Second Amendment. Seems to me the U.S. Constitution woudl supercede anything in state law, but I too voted for it nonetheless.

    Part of me wonders if these things are get-out-the-vote vehicles for conservatives (which I personally don't think is a bad thing).

  2. It feels like I'm constantly second guessing my rights these days. On the one hand, it's good that this language was put to a vote, and I sure hope it passes with heavy majority. On the other, it scary to think that it needed to be put on the ballot in the first place.

    These are indeed strange times we live in.

  3. SW, that's an interesting idea about getting out the conservative vote. I'm a bit relieved to say it's not just conservatives who supported the amendment. About 1.3 million votes were cast for governor here and that race was split 51/47, so a whole lot of Dems and others voted in favor of this (see my update at the end of the post). At least we can all agree on something important.